NASA has some really ambitious projects lined up during this decade and the next.
First, they plan to capture an asteroid in 2019 and bring it close to the moon. Once the asteroid is caught and placed near the moon, they plan to send astronauts in order to explore the asteroid in 2021. The idea is to catch the asteroid with a robotic probe and moon being just 200,000 miles away, astronauts will be able to travel to the asteroid real quick, in a matter of few days. The idea is to send 4 lucky astronauts in an Orion capsule.
Once they reach the asteroid, they will spacewalk and collect samples and observes the asteroid. This could finally help us to understand what asteroids are made of and someday, it may even help us to mine the asteroids if there are any worthy metals and minerals, instead of digging up the whole planet. An astounding $74 million has been set aside for the project and much more will be sought in the next few years.
The sudden urge to fund the project was encouraged by the Chelyabinsk meteor explosion which happened in Russia. The American government wants to understand how asteroids behave, and how such mishaps can be averted in the future. It remains to be seen if asteroids will be the new horizon for mining, tourism, and technical progress.
You might also want to go ahead and take a look at how to build your own Space Lander. It is interesting how little money is invested in space exploration and research when millions are spent on things that are not very important. Space exploration may hold secrets to questions that we still do not know. After all, it is always a good idea to understand the space around us, when so much is elusive.